Religious Routes And Sites
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The Milk Grotto

This lavishly decorated church on a street a few metres from the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem’s Anatreh Quarter, is built atop an irregular grotto hollowed out of a soft white rock (senonian chalk). It is thought to have been originally built in 404 AD by St. Paula, the wealthy Roman woman who accompanied Jerome to Bethlehem. It was last renovated in the nineteenth century. According to Christian tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary stayed for a short time in this Grotto with the divine child, prior or during the flight to Egypt. While in the cave, she suckled her divine child and spilled some drops of her milk which turned the rock white. Many miracles are attributed to the rock of the church many women who had given up hope of conceiving have done so after mixing powder from the grotto with a drink.